Kingsley Davis (1) writes that while we think of the Neolithic or food producing revolution as committing people to the soil and to a sedentary life, in fact, movement has continued to be an important part of human adaptation. In the Middle East, much of this involves people settling in new villages, resettling previously abandoned sites, or leaving villages in order to take up urban residence. Less commonly, but still an alternative to be considered under certain conditions, people may choose to adopt a pattern of regular movement or nomadism. This picture of regular population movement and shifting settlement systems does not accord with our more familiar stereotype of the ubiquitous Near Eastern village…timeless and as fixed in the landscape as the mud and stone from which it is formed. Nevertheless, virtually every village monograph known to this author describes a village population whose local or settled antecedents go back fewer than 150 years. Most Near Eastern villages described in the literature are of very recent settlement. Rural settlements are the products of people responding to particular problems and opportunities, and people change their economic strategies and residential or social groupings as these circumstances change. Settlement systems reflect this as the size and distribution of villages shift through time. This suggests that if we are to understand contemporary village life as well as to make practical recommendations affecting villages we should consider how and why such shifts occur.